It was appropriate, we thought, for this non-Jewish congregation to commemorate the crucifixion of our Lord by celebrating the Passover. Our leader was a Messianic, or completed Jew. As he read from the Haggadeh, the book that retells the story of the exodus from which the Passover Seder is conducted, he lifted the second cup.
“This is a cup of remembrance,” he said. “And one of gratitude.”
“As we list the plagues God sent through the hand of Moses,” he said, “it is customary to dip one finger into the glass, then onto the plate, leaving one drop to symbolize each plague.”
Slaying of the Firstborn.
“It is a cup of remembrance, lest we forget the power of God . It is a cup of gratitude, lest we forget his mercy and deliverance,” our leader said.
I’ve never thought to list the plagues God has allowed into my life. Frankly, I prefer to forget them. And list them for the purpose of expressing gratitude? This, too, is a strange concept.
Strange, yet very biblical. King David the Psalmist embraced this practice.
“It is good for me to be afflicted,” he wrote in Psalm 119:71, “that I might learn your decrees. I know, O LORD, that your laws are righteous, and in faithfulness you have afflicted me.”
Remembrance and gratitude. The rear view perspective of a man who has suffered, survived, and now has the ability to see how God has used his affliction to make him better.
With this in mind, I dipped my finger into my cup. And while the others recited the plagues of old, the list in my head sounded much different.
Unsaved family members.
Doubt and discouragement.
Unlike the plagues of the Exodus, these plagues weren’t limited to the unbelieving Egyptians. God, in his sovereignty, allowed them into my life. Not out of cruelty, but out of a bigger, greater, more God-glorifying plan than I can ever conceive. Most of the time I can’t see his purposes, but every now and then I catch a glimpse, for we walk by faith, not by sight.
Thank you, Lord, for disease, for it has taught me that health is a gift to be treasured and protected.
Thank you, God, for unsaved family members, for they remind me that nothing is too hard for you.
Thank you, Father, for unemployment, for it demonstrates that you are my provider, not my job.
Thank you, Lord, for broken relationships, for they remind me that you will never leave me nor forsake me.
Thank you, God, for wasted opportunities, for they prove you can restore what the locust has eaten.
Thank you, Father, for prodigals, for they have allowed me to experience your heartbreak when I sin against you.
Thank you, Lord, for doubt and discouragement, for they cause me to seek comfort in your arms.
Thank you, God, for broken hearts, for they show me that you are everything I need.
Thank you, Father, for betrayal, for it allows me to enter into your earthly suffering.
Thank you, Lord, for death, for without death, there is no resurrection.
As you list your own plagues, and lift your cup of suffering, may you also raise a psalm of praise to God, in faith. May you trust that he who walks with you every step of the way will redeem every moment of your suffering for his glory.
“May your unfailing love be my comfort, according to your promise to your servant. Let your compassion come to me that I may live, for your law is my delight. (Psalm 119:76-77).
“You are good, and what you do is good; teach me your decrees” (Psalm 119:68).
Now it’s your turn. What “plague” are you trusting God with today? It would be my honor to pray with you for God to use it for good in your life. Leave a comment below and join the conversation.